Publishers are coming out with amazing new books for kids on a daily basis, but some of the great children's books that kids are reading today were actually published decades ago. Stories like The Velveteen Rabbit and Where The Wild Things Are might be considered enduring classic children's books, but there are plenty of lesser-known classics of children's literature as well. Even with so many great new children's books, kids continue to curl up with Beatrix Potter's The Tale Of Peter Rabbit, and Millions Of Cats has delighted generations since it was first published in 1928.
Enduring children's classics teach today's readers about the era they hail from, nod to important issues that still impact the world today, and enchant readers with colorful characters. These old books you didn't realize kids still love are some of the best children's books of all time.
The Velveteen Rabbit was written by Margery Williams in 1922. It tells the story of a stuffed rabbit that feels inferior because it isn't a real rabbit or a modern, mechanical toy. But thanks to the love of its owner, the rabbit finally gets its chance to become "real."
The book has been wildly popular since its publication, and has been republished and adapted countless times.
Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree came out in 1964. It is considered one of Silverstein's most popular books, and it has been translated into multiple languages. It is still quite popular, ranking #3 on a 2013 Goodreads list of Best Children's Books.
The story focuses on a young boy who receives gifts from a loving tree throughout his life. As time passes and the boy grows, he is less appreciative of the gifts, but the tree continues to give everything it has until it is just a stump.
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Arnold Lobel wrote and illustrated the first book in the Frog and Toad series in 1970, and the books are still going strong today. The first book is ranked on Goodread's 100 Best Children's Books list. The books depict the loving and supportive friendship between the main characters, Frog and Toad.
In a 2016 interview with The New Yorker, Lobel's daughter Adrianne claimed that, although it was never explicitly stated in the books themselves, Frog and Toad were likely meant to be in a same-sex relationship, due to her late father's identity as a gay man.
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Little House on the Prairie is the first in nine-book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. First published in 1932, the books are a fictionalized version of Wilder's experiences growing up in midwestern America in the late 19th century.
Perhaps because of the way they detail American history in a personal, relatable way, the books have remained classics that are still frequently picked up by elementary school students. In 2012, the School Library Journal ranked the first book in the series on its list of the Top 100 Children's Novels.